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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A rare blip For Barcelona

Spanish club fails to score in a Champions League match for the first time in 30 games during the 0-0 draw against AC Milan

Written by Agencies | Milan | Published: March 30, 2012 12:04:37 am

AC Milan held Barcelona to an entertaining 0-0 draw on Wednesday in the opening leg of the quarterfinals,the first time in 30 matches and more than two years that the Spanish team had been held scoreless in the Champions League. The last time Barcelona failed to score in the Champions League was in the 0-0 draw with Rubin Kazan in November 2009.

“There’s a first time for everything,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “Milan is happy with the result and that’s a real compliment for us. Not scoring away from home does penalise us a bit,as I think we will have to score twice to go through. They are strong in so many aspects,I don’t think one goal will be enough. But the pitch will be better than this one,so there’ll be a bit more speed. We’re used to playing to win.”

Barcelona players complained about the state of the pitch,with lumps of turf flying up with every tackle and players slipping constantly. “It’s a shame the pitch isn’t suited to a game of football,Inter and Milan deserve a better pitch,” Guardiola said. “In the past few years we’ve won a lot,we’ve also lost and drawn. But whatever the result we’ve never been a team to complain about the referee or anything. To be the best you need to overcome these difficulties.”

Missed chances

Milan will find out in the return leg at the Camp Nou next Tuesday how much it will regret Robinho’s woeful miss early on,while Barcelona should’ve had a first-half penalty when Alexis Sanchez was brought down by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

Lionel Messi,who has scored 55 times this season,had a goal ruled offside at the San Siro. This is only the second time a match between these two European heavyweights has ended scoreless in 14 meetings.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic,who spent an unhappy season at Barcelona,was also kept quiet although he should have done better with two opportunities. “I’m happy,” Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “The lads put on a good performance,they interpreted the game as they should have done,attacked strongly and defended well when they had to. It’s a good result to go to Barcelona with.

“It will be a difficult game but two out of three results will favour us. Next week I want a game like that of four-five months ago when,especially in the first half,we had several brilliant chances which we then wasted. So I want to have the same chances next week.”

Madrid forward Robinho should have scored in the third minute. Milan attacker Kevin-Prince Boateng’s shot crashed off defender Gerard Pique and the rebound was headed on by Ibrahimovic to an unmarked Robinho just outside the six-yard box,however the Brazilian shot over the crossbar.

Milan was almost made to rue that missed opportunity immediately,Messi drilling the ball low across the face of goal. Barcelona went close when Abbiati spilled Messi’s shot but Antonio Nocerino managed to clear off the line with Dani Alves sliding to try and tap it into the net in the ninth minute.

Bayern Munich dominate

In Marseille,Bayern Munich put one foot in the last four with a clinical victory but five yellow cards and a suspension for Bastian Schweinsteiger left coach Jupp Heynckes fuming.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben shone on a bright night for Bayern at the Stade Velodrome and a 2-0 victory put them firmly on course for a semi-final meeting with Real Madrid,who won 3-0 at APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday.

Heynckes refused to accept that his team were as good as through but his concern that seven of his players were a booking away from suspension indicated he had half an eye on a meeting with the nine-times European champions.

Barca lodge official complaint

Barcelona has filed a complaint to UEFA about the state of the San Siro pitch in its 0-0 draw with AC Milan. The defending champions filed the complaint late Wednesday after the match in which their players lost their footing and kicked up clumps of turf from the ground. Lionel Messi slipped when taking a free kick in a dangerous position early in the first half,slicing his shot for the ball to bounce out for a goal kick.

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